Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tuesday of chemicals and no bites

I went out after breakfast.
The water was beautiful.
A slight breeze.
I rowed over to Bruce's Perch Patch.

And nothing.

One pumpkinseed.

I fished perhaps 40 minutes when the airboat started treating the lake with weed killer.
So, I rowed home.

I'll toss the one pumpkinseed in the old live well and test whether it holds fish or not.

Later I hoisted the boat up and used the new line to pull the plug.  Seems very good.  It was still a hard crank, but it worked.  Perhaps I could use some smaller but stronger sort of line.  Also, I want to work on the shore so I have easy access to standing just to the right of the ramp when I hold the rope and pull it in.  Finally, I need to extend the rope a bit on the crank rig as it does not quite reach to hook up to the boat

Monday, May 26, 2014

Decoration Day Monday- 20 fish

It was so rainy this morning that I guess a lot of the weekenders gave it up.  Race boat radio guy loaded his jet boat on the trailer.  When the sun came out and I went fishing, I had the lake almost to myself with just a couple kayaks and a few rowing fishermen.

I rowed out over the calm Second  lake to that spot where Bruce and I hit perch yesterday, on the West side of the Island and under those electrical wires.  I guess I"ll call that spot "Bruce's perch patch."
The perch were still there.
Along with them I took a couple white perch, my first this season, and bluegills.
Two white perch and 10 yellow perch and 8 bluegill/pumpkinseed filled the bucket.
I used the little rubber perch like lure with a tiny bit of worm until they ate the tail off.  Then I switched to a dark twister tail with some salt flavor.  They hit both, but were not dependable if I dropped off the worm part. 

I netted the larger perch after one spit the hook as I lifted it in the boat.  The higher sides makes it more likely that the fish will get off.  I don't care about bluegills that escape, but I want to eat the perch while I can get them.  Generally, once the bluegills bed I will get 8 bluegills to every 2 perch, so this hole of yellow perch was a rare treat this late in the spring. 

At one point I hooked what I expect was a pickerel.  It came up to the boat strong and deep and when it turned to head away, it just kept going and spit the hook.
I am so excited to have pickerel in the lake again.
The weeds may frustrate us when we swim this year, but I like the lake back to what it was before it was treated.

I went home when the perch stopped biting and cleaned them up while talking to neighbor Chuck. 
Again I liked having my new umbrella for shade.
Scrubbing the cavities in the kitchen caused me to remember when I first dated Elizabeth and she wanted to do the scrubbing.  One small perch ended up sliding down the drain and I had to take the drain apart in the basement and find it.
She does not remember.
It must be about 19 years ago.

My back hurt by the time I finished.  I packaged up a couple meals for Peter. 
Years ago I could clean three times that many fish, starting at 9 PM and going until early in the morning.  I'd fillet them and watch old movies. 
Then I'd sleep a few hours, go to teach school, and fish again with the boys after school the next day.
Now 20 tires me out.

We'll eat the white perch and some yellow perch tonight.


All those guys dropping things from airplanes or singing Native American songs or beating on drums or praying could have saved a good bit of energy.

The simple way to make it rain is to bail the boat.

So, I guess it is time to listen to the Prairie Home Companion that I missed on Saturday.  This modern technology is just amazing.   With speakers attached to the laptop I can hear the show while I do dishes.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday with Bruce and Abigail

I took Bruce and
Abigail and Elizabeth out for a ride in the new boat.  We went in to the First Lake with just an inch or so to spare under the metal beams of the Dyke Road.  I did scratch the motor a bit by not getting it tucked in enough.  I'm learning.
It was great fun to see the small lake.  I spent plenty of good times along that shore with John Almberg, Dolores, Melita,  having barbecue and tossing on yellow perch and white perch I caught off the shore.
We go no bites there today, but the current residents of John's old place waved to us.

Back in the Second Lake we hit some perch under the electric wires that run to the Island. Folks on the island were fixing the place up, using a nice pontoon boat to jet back and forth.  A couple of dogs ran around on the island, barking a bit.  They must be new owners.
Large yellow perch were right under the wires and I saw spawning beds.
We did not fill the bucket because we fished less than an hour, but I cleaned 6 fish and sent Bruce home with 3 nice perch.

The lake is already very weedy.  I can see why there are some pickerel lurking here that in past years have been driven out by the elimination of weeds and their most comfortable habitat.

The motor pushed the boat fine with 4 of us in it.  Amazing really, although we were not heading into the wind.  I'll have to get a second battery so I'm always starting with a well charged one.

I rigged up some more rope to keep the dock from shifting until I can manage to do something with it.  The rope was tied to the post that split.  Now it is tied to trees for the most part and it did stabilize that shift that worries me. 

Soon I can get in the water and perhaps brace it up and then I hope to add a stabilizing section.  We'll see.

It was a good day.  Some radio noise, but then it was turned down.  So, not too bad.
We all went up to the Tavern in Sand Lake for a meal.  Good beef brisket.  I had not realized they are a good BBQ place for smoked meats.

We sat outside there and talked and had a fine time right next to the creek where thirty years ago Tommy and I went with flashlights after dark to catch crawfish for bait.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Fishing with Casey

The fish were still lethargic, but there was no wind until we came home and that wind was in our favor.  The rowing was very easy.  Maybe a bit too easy for exercise.

We had a great debate about what Casey was going to wear.  He can be stubborn.. I was determined he dress in old clothes that worm dirt or hook punctures could not hurt.   It was cool, so he needed something more than we brought, but my short sleeve shirts work as full body covering for him and that went very well.

He was a little unsure about helping me launch the boat, but he took the rope, carried it to the end of the dock, wrapped it around a post and held on to it while I pushed the boat out into the lake.  That is so helpful for me. 

He does a great job at the fishing.  He listens and tries to do what I show him.  He hooked two fish that got off and then he hooked one and set the hook so that one came in.  I had the same number of hits, but I brought in three fish.

A light rain just threatened us.

And then it was time to get back.  He had had plenty and was quite excited about his day.  He liked watching my clean the fish and we'll send them along with him so his dad has a taste.

Sorry, but I did not take any pictures this time.

He and Boppie are up at Jeff's pond searching for frogs.

I was very happy to have solved the winch problems yesterday.  I'm confident it will lift the boat.  I'll leave water out of it next time. 


Friday, May 23, 2014

Winch post breaks

I decided not to bail by hand, but to take the boat over to the winch and winch it up, pull the plug and let the water leak away.

The 4 by 4 holding the come along broke.  That is one heavy boat!

It was not my favorite even.  So much in such turmoil just now.

I tried to get a metal pipe down, but too many rocks.

I moved a part of the winch that holds the come along up to one post of the deck, bought some pumber's meal wrap, and screwed it all together.    I don't think that the deck post will crumble in quite the same way.  So far, it seems to do the job.  We'll see tomorrow.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Rained out

No bites today.
And then the thunderstorm hit hard.

I did not die of lightning.

I did get soaked through.  So much for my frogtog.

I rowed back from the second lake in an amazing storm with the rain pelleting.  Luckily until the last few minutes there was no wind so it was an easy row.

And of course, just as I tied up to the dock with a few inches of water in the boat, my sneakers soaked, and everything soaked to the skin, the wind pushed the storm out and the sun came back.

Well, I took a hot bath.

Perhaps I'll try again later today.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Casey at the Lake

No fishing last Sunday morning, but Casey and I walked to the foggy lake and saw bluegills at the shore, two sets of spawning black bass, a small snapping turtle, and a dead snake.

It was colder than anticipated, so we tossed on one of my fleece shirts.  Long sleeves, but the rest worked pretty well.


Elizabeth's birthday

Casey stayed over last night. 
We took an early morning walk on the Dyke Road with the fog lifting off the lake.
In the road was a dead watersnake.
Along the shore were small bluegill and two circles of spawning bass.

A snapping turtle crawled on the rocks.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

First marinade

I tried apple cider vinegar, cumin, a bit of stevia, lots of garlic.
Marinated over night.
Put them on the grill.

I overcooked them a bit, but the tails were crispy.
Not enough smoky flavor.  I think I should do the fish with a steak so the smoke comes or get some hickory chips.

I like the taste but the vinegar overtakes it.  I know oil would help but I'm trying to do it on the very low cal.  I think a white wine vinegar would work.  Maybe some wine in the marinade would work.  Maybe some port for sweetness.
I need more spice.  Perhaps I'll add extra garlic power just as I cook the fish.

I do love this little grill that Chuck, the Dean of Bass, recommended.  It really gives me control.

I picked the meat from the bones and I'll decide what to do.  Eliz says that the small bits would make a great sandwich with mayo.  I agee, but I'm off all sandwiches and off mayo. 

I'm thinking I'll use the little plug in grill and cook some with a small bit of cheddar in  between two thick slices of eggplant (like the bread in a grilled sandwich). 

This morning I had the last of the pickerel and I made my own oyster chowder with cream of celery soup, milk, a bit of butter, and plenty of black pepper.  It was really good.  Oysters came in a can.  I tossed in the left over bits of jicama and they were like a potato in chowder.  Bluegill meat would be good in that mix as well.  Perhaps the next batch I'll fillet.
I don't much like the bluegill fish soup if it is the only fish in the mix, but with scallops, shrimp, clams or now oysters it works great.

Dana and Jen here today but too tired for a boat ride.  Perhaps tomorrow.  The water is just perfect today.  The fishing would be good.  We go out for dinner for Elizabeth's 16th birthday. (65 is the new 16) and then tomorrow gather for a little brunch party.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Yesterday's fish

I cleaned yesterday's fish early this morning to beat a rain that never came and because I was going on just three hours of sleep.
So we had a little breakfast of bluegill and perch fried in coconut oil, and probably will supper on baked pickerel. 


So what's so hot about this boat?

This is the largest 14 foot rowboat I could find. 
The leg room and the stability add greatly to the comfort for old legs that object to being bent.
And yet it is still possible to row it in comfort.
Part of that is the fine plush seats.  But I generally sit on the middle bench to row and even here there is more room.  I can put my tackle box right on the bench with me.  I can sit on a cushion.  And none of that interferes with the oars.
My legs are not as cramped while sitting and standing does not requite much balance at all so I can easily stretch.
It is a harder boat to bail, but I noticed that with just me in it, light amounts of water go to the front and out of the way of my rowing feet. 
The issue for bailing is that each ribbed section contains its own little puddle of water.  And the stability of the boat means that I can't just get in the back and expect my weight to bring most of the water down to me. 
I have not tried bailing from the front yet.
Of course, I can get the water out by hoisting the boat up on the ramp where I store it.  It has a fine hole in the back and once the plug is out, the water goes out quickly. 
Still, it is a heavy boat and getting it positioned for hoisting is a bit of a chore.  I'd like better to bail if I am going to use it a few days in a row and the rain is not too heavy.
I may need to put in some floorboards. 
I did put in some foam pieces that are nice to push against when I row and would keep my feet out of shallow water.
The metal of the boat gets very hot in the sun.  This is a problem if I touch the bench but a benefit for the drying of small amounts of water after bailing deeper amounts.
The 50 pound thrust of the motor is just grand. However, I will need a second battery.  The motor means I can row a long way, get tired out, and then come back without effort. 
It has so many settings that it will be just fine for trolling.
Reverse is great too.  The old electric gave out on me about a decade ago and I went in and wired it so the forward worked, but not the reverse. 
And the handle extends so that I can reach it without discomfort.  I won't have to extend that.
The split back seats are just a fine innovation.  It makes sitting and using the motor much more comfortable than the old bench seat design, and it makes placing the battery and the mounting the motor much easier. 
These are very heavy. 
Perhaps over time I'll build my strength back up and it will be easier carrying them down to the boat.  The new improved stability helps me get them into the boat with only a bit of needed balance.
I need to get some 9 foot oars or perhaps make an oar three inches over 9 feet, which is what feels right.
The outside Smokercraft is a bit odd for me as I don't smoke.  I have a thought of covering the "S" with a bluegill decal and the "m" with a similar "p" and so making it very close to my personal Pokerbluegill blog.
It does fit through the large drain pipe that connects the two sections of this lake.  In fact, the depth makes it easier for passengers to crouch down.  
It is very heavy, but with only me in the boat, it rows fairly easily.  I think I could manage to make headway against even the strongest of our winds here in the channel, but it would be a chore.   I may put the motor in just to get me home against that wind.
Getting the oar blades to touch the water in a more horizontal and parallel position sure helped get a better grip on the water.

I have not been out at night yet, but I am thinking of what lights I might need to be out at night.  Just now it is risk free, and most of the time boats don't run at night, but then there will be a time when someone wants to motor and perhaps motor too fast for good viewing. 
Still, I love being on the water and night and I hope to fish some bullhead.

The Oars

The depth of the boat means rowing with 8 foor oars puts the paddle ends into the water at an inefficient angle.  

9 foot oars are very expensive.  And I really want a couple more inches beyond 9 feet.
I extended my 8 foot oars with some plastic pipe I had here, and that works.
But what I'd like is to cut some of my old oars and put the plastic section in the middle so the paddle and the handle of the original oar extend out each end.
I can't quite get an exact plastic pipe fit, but electrical conduit seems very close.  I'll have to get the sander up and take a bit off the oar so it slips in the pipe. 
I think it will work.

It will be fun puttering with the idea anyway.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

On the Water

This is what if feels like. I get to be alone out on the water.  Chuck, my neighbor took this photo.  On his facebook folks I don't know are making comments. 
What happened is Elizabeth offered to post it so I could get it for this blog.  And Chuck said fine and then he gave me venison sausages of two varieties.  Venison and pickerel.  How can life be better?
This morning, fishing just in the strip of water in front of the house, I hit another fine pickerel the size of the one in the pan photo.  I'll try to add those photos today. 
I got distracted by an infected tooth that I thought might be resurrected, but Andrew Cuomo's endodontist says it needs to be extracted. 
Okay,  now I can get on with cleaning my fish tomorrow and building my custom oars.  Stay tuned.
Today it was very windy and I went without motor because I want that battery to charge for when Dana and Jen visit.  I anchored out from the Kay's dock.  They throw bits of pizza in there and so there are fish there. They chum for me.  I hit a nice pickerel and some bluegills and perch.  Then I drifted into the Second Lake and caught more, including some good sized crappie. 
I'll clean them tomorrow.
I bought vinegar for a marinade too and checked a few recipes.  I am not a catsup based barbecue guy.  That North Carolina vinegar based sauce works for me. 
I did not take the motor. 
I did take the Frogg Tog raincoat and it proved valuable. 
It rained some and the wind blew hard at times, but I did manage to row home against it.  Good exercise!
I fished with a jig and an old dried worm from yesterday.  It worked for a while. Then I put on some eyes.  I had left them out and they had a very mellow smell to them.  I dipped them in some vanilla.  Something worked.  I filled a bucket with fish.
I hit some fish again near the buoy on Second Lake.  A small pickerel, just legal.
On a small plastic replica of a perch I have been catching lots of fish.  I can't remember where I bought it.   Then these green long tailed jigs work too.  I am not using the usual purple.

Pickerel in a pan

So, I decided just to collect all the fish photos.
I'll start with the last one.
Here is the fish right after I caught it with Peter yesterday.
Here is the fish baked in the old manner developed long before food needed to be healthy in my early Burden Lake days.
My first wife Margot used to actually make a gravy with the fish droppings and the bacon.  Well, we were no so decadent that we went that far.  But her gravy was very, very good.
Of course back in the day we did not know about parchment paper.  What a wonderful invention! All the frustration of sticking fish or the idea of flipping them with all that bacon going every which way is just gone.  This guy was a delightful breakfast for Elizabeth and I.  I love the way she enjoys these fish.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Fishing with Peter


Peter needed a nap so he was not in the photo.  We forgot the camera in the boat. 
We fished the buoy and then along the shore near the road.  Good panfish hits.  I hooked a second pickerel the size of this one but missed the netting and then it was off the line.
Peter caught some fish and so did I.  I cleaned the panfish while he napped and sent them home with him.  I have not heard how they tasted.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Moving back a bit here are some photos of the boat and the early fishing.

 Chuck, the Dean of Bass, went along with me for the first real fishing expedition in the new boat.  He liked the boat.  He liked the fishing.  I guess he likes me.  If not, he is a masochist because he keeps coming back for more.
 Here is a nice large  mouth that I released.  Minutes before I hooked a small mouth and brought it to the boat three times.  We got a good view, but it spit the hook so no photo.  Hey, it's the smallmouth's loss.
 Here Chuck and I fish where Elizabeth can use her camera.

 This is the new rowboat that has really changed my life.  It is 14 feet but very deep.  My five sons go together and bought it for me.  Some are a bit annoyed that I am making my own oars, but wait until you see them.  I want 9 foot plus oars and I have a plan. 

 Here is the grandkid Casey who got to go out on the first day, when the boat was launched just after it arrived.  He liked driving it.  The split seats made that easy.

These are the first bluegill of the season cooking in my Mom's way, floured and then fried.  One perch. That is Elizabeth's.  She deserves it.

She finally had her first ride and she loved it.  We motored over to the Third Lake and saw a juvenile loon there.  He let us get pretty close, dived, then came up fairly close.  We had forgotten camera and binoculars.
Decades ago son Keith and I spotted a deer swimming out there.  We were in the yellow canoe and probably looking for white perch.  It was quite a sight.  At first we spooked her out into the deeper water, but then we readjusted our position so that she would swim to the shore and the deep woods.  We watched her climb out.  It is the only time in my life that I have ever seen a deer swimming.